Boob(s On Your) Tube: “Chasing Life” Is the Bisexual Representation You’ve Been Looking For On TV

It’s been exactly one week since the Pretty Little Liars season 6A finale, and I feel like I have lived four TV lifetimes between then and now. It’s exciting that the conversation is still going strong because general pop culture caring about trans representation on TV is a brand new thing, but it’s still disheartening and scary too.

Other shows are drawing near the end of their summer seasons, too. Chasing Life and The Fosters finished up last night. Complications aired its finale last Thursday. We’ve got two more episodes of Defiance and Scream to go, though, and here’s hoping Yewll and Audrey make it out alive.

Next week, I’ll give you a run down of all the queer characters you can expect to see on your teevees this fall. Until then, here’s what the end of summer looks like.

The Fosters

Mondays on ABC Family at 8:00 p.m.

THE FOSTERS - "Lucky" - Stef and Lena host an anniversary party for Lena’s parents while Callie faces the consequences of her actions in the summer finale of “The Fosters,

Stef and Lena are okay! I repeat: STEF AND LENA ARE OKAY! After a very, very tough summer season during which our favorite lesbian moms put each other through some unfair (but true to married life) shit, the truth about Monty kissing Lena finally came out. It happened because Stef’s best friend started dating Monty and walked in on Monty being in love with Lena at a cabin in the woods where the couples agreed to go for a weekend getaway. Monty confessed that yes, any queer person with eyeballs and a functioning brain and heart would be helplessly in love with Lena Adams Foster, and so Stef’s best friend told that to her and also the thing about the kiss.

Last night, Stef had a breast cancer scare! She didn’t even tell Lena about it because she was mad at her and didn’t want to need her and wanted to keep something from her the way Lena kept the Monty thing from Stef — but the truth came out at a backyard party, like it always does. It was an imaging glitch. Stef is okay. But the fact of the scare sent Lena barreling into Stef’s arms, shivering and terrified. They forgave each other. They danced. They pressed their faces together and loved each other in their kitchen, while all their kids (including new Jesus) did their drama around them.

In other stories, Jude continued to prove he is ten times the man Brandon will ever be because he exercised self control and did the best thing for the person he loves, even though he broke his own heart in the process. After Connor’s dad caught them making out and flipped out, Connor decided he wanted to go live with his mom in Los Angeles, and Jude gave him his blessing on account of THEY’RE IN REAL LOVE. They said so out loud with their mouths.

Plus also, you’re not even going to believe what I’m about to tell you: Callie finally got adopted! #OfficiallyAFoster

Chasing Life

Mondays on ABC Family at 9:00 p.m.


Chasing Life has blown me away with the way it has embraced Brenna’s bisexuality. When she made out with Greer last season, I thought it was just the ABC Family way, and while I was happy being pandered to, as I always am, I didn’t think it would amount to much. Well, ha ha ha! Joke’s on me! Brenna and Greer fell in love and enjoyed a real, organic relationship with each other before Greer moved away. During the Christmas episode, Brenna came out as bi, actually said the word “bisexual” out loud on TV, and made absolutely no apologies for it. She has been into guys on screen and she has been into girls on screen.

Last night, Brenna joined the queer kids at her new school in their Lesbian & Gay Support Group, and it was not what she expected at all. There’s a gay male couple, an asexual teen, a lesbian of color, and all of that seemed fantastic. Like Fosters fantastic. But then everyone started clowning on her for being bisexual.

Mariah: Wait, you’re bi?
Brenna: [Nods]
Gay guy: Yeah, I did that too, but I see it now. That’s sexy.
Mariah: You know, I could never date a bi girl. You’ve got to be pretty secure yourself to be with someone who’s attracted to the entire population.
Brenna: Oh my god, Mariah, it’s not like I’m into everyone I walk by.
Gay guy: Oh, babe, you don’t get it. The bisexual thing is so tricky because if you can change your mind every day about who you’re attracted to, it makes it sound like being gay is a choice.
Other gay guy: So is your guy type really feminine, or…?
Brenna: Okay, I’m not changing my mind. I’m just attracted to the person for who they are; not their gender.
Mariah: That’s exactly what my ex said before leaving me for a dude.
Gay guy: My theory is that bi guys are always actually gay and bi girls are always actually straight.
Brenna: I’m not straight! I mean, the last two people I dated were girls, so.
Mariah: Maybe you’re just gay.

What’s excellent about this is that Brenna is the sympathetic character here (and always), and is so beloved by fans of the show, so these people throwing all this trite bigoted bullshit at her are presented as jerks. None of these stereotypes are played for laughs. It looks like Brenna is going to abandon the group altogether, and who could blame her? But she goes back and trades shade-for-shade, defending bisexuality in a way that’s never been done on ABC Family and has only very, very rarely been done on TV in general.

Gay guy: I didn’t think you were coming back.
Brenna: I didn’t either, but I changed my mind! Just like I change my mind every day about who I’m attracted to! Hey, Mariah, I was wondering: What made you a lesbian?
Mariah: I was born this way.
Brenna: So when you’re with a girl, who’s the boy in the relationship?
Mariah: No one. There is no boy.
Brenna: [To the gay guys] But Andrew’s the girl between the two of you, right?
Andrew: No! There’s not a heteronormative dynamic in all relationships.
Brenna: Oh, there’s not? That’s just a stereotype?

They get it. And they’re sorry. Brenna is right now and always.

Legit bisexual representation on a teenage TV show? What a time to be alive!


Tuesdays on MTV at 10:00 p.m.


Welp, Audrey got one step closer to getting Emma to be in a Big Gay Relationship with her her due to the competition being eliminated. Emma’s boyfriend, Will, got chopped in literal half after Emma found him in a field attached to a saw and went running for him and tripped a wire and watched as he was sawed in actual half. Emma herself was almost killed to death when she was investigating an abandoned bowling alley with her friends earlier in the episode, but she survived to accidentally maul her boyfriend. Audrey’s alibi? She was taking a makeup test the whole entire time.


Thursdays on USA at 9:00 p.m.

COMPLICATIONS -- "Critical Condition" Episode 109 -- Pictured: (l-r) Miles Doleac as Dr. Ian Blair, Jessica Szohr as Gretchen Polk -- (Photo by: Bob Mahoney/USA Network)

Complications exceeded my expectations so much, y’all. I know it’s because White Collar promised that CIA Junior Agent Diana Barrigan would be who Gretchen actually is and didn’t deliver, and so the bar was pretty low, but still! A lesbian character of color is the main hero of the show because of her hard-assness but also her compassion? Check. Her queerness is an important part of who she is, but it’s not the main thing about her? Check. She makes it out alive despite the fact that everyone is getting shot all the time? Check. She actually threw herself on top of a guy this week to keep the a bad cop from shooting him and lived to tell the tale! I can’t explain the finale to you if you didn’t watch the show. Gretchen won, is all you really need to know.

Rookie Blue

Thursdays on ABC at 10:00 p.m.


Gail busted a dirty cop named Santana on this week’s Rookie Blue. It was pretty boring police procedural stuff. I wish she’d been making out with Santana Lopez instead. Just kidding! Those two would kill each other!


Fridays on Syfy at 8:00 p.m.

DEFIANCE -- "Of a Demon in My View" Episode 311 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anna Hopkins as Jessica "Berlin" Rainer, Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa Nolan -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)

Sigh. This season of Defiance continues to disappoint me. It’s not offensive. I mean, it’s not offensive in terms of queer content. It’s offensive to me, personally, because it’s boring. This week, Doc Yewll helped Kindzi round up all the dudes in town and stick them in cages to prepare for the coming Omec invasion. This included Yewll’s BFF, Datak Tarr, who, along with Stahma, have been wholly underused this summer, which is a large part of the reason this season kinda sucks. Also, Yewll helped Kindzi literally eat her dad to death. It wasn’t as gross as Will getting chopped in half on Scream, but it was disgusting.

On the upside, Berlin returned from her brief hiatus in 90210, and thank the gods because I was starting to believe she and Irisa weren’t in real true forever love. Now I remember that they totally are.


Saturdays on NBC at 10:00 p.m.

HANNIBAL -- "The Wrath of the Lamb" Episode 313 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter, Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom  -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

It looks like Alana has finally pushed Hannibal to the point of murdering her (but only because he pushed her first!). She threatened to take away all his nice shit if he didn’t cooperate with her and the police, and this week she discovered that he’d been having long, leisurely phone conversations with a serial killer called the Red Dragon. She told him he was going to help them catch this fucker, or else. He chose: or else! And so Alana removed all his nice things like his smoking jacket and books and record player and also apparently his toilet. And then had him wrapped up to look like the movie. Good night, sweet princess!

I Am Cait

Sundays on E! at 8:00 p.m.


This week on I Am Cait, I was exposed to the fullness of the Kardashians for the first time. (This is the only Kardashian show I’ve ever watched.) It was kind of jarring.

Kim Kardashian shows up to talk to Caitlyn about how everyone in the family is pissed off at her for some things she said in her Vanity Fair interview, most notably Kris Jenner because of how Caitlyn said if Kris had been more supportive they’d still be together. Also Khloe is upset, I think, because Caitlyn said something disparaging about her husband? I don’t know the family tree; it was hard for me to follow. Kim’s suggestion for making up with Kris was to tweet an apology. Khloe’s suggestion for Caitlyn feeling less isolated from her family — because, as Caitlyn repeatedly says, none of her children have come to visit her since she came out and began her transition — was group texting.

I’ll tell you what really got to me, though: Number one) Kim dropped Caitlyn’s birth name like NBD, all, “You still have some of [birth name] in you; I thought Caitlyn would be a little nicer.” And when Caitlyn went to visit Chloe, she talked about all the stuff she’s learning.

Caitlyn: So much of it is so scary. Homelessness, people on the street—
Khloe: Aw, that’s not good.

Aw, that’s not good?! It’s a tiny bit more than “not good,” Khloe Kardashian.

And then Khloe just wanted to talk about herself.

I’m not cut out for actual reality TV. I liked the parts of the episode where Caitlyn had dinner with Jen Richards, Kate Bornstein, and Candis Cayne and talked about how more mainstream portions of the queer community often prioritize the political and social needs of the trans community way way way behind the needs of rich white gay guys. It’s an important conversation and particularly interesting as we consider how much trans erasure we’re seeing in the new Stonewall movie.

Team TV coverage you may have missed

+ Pretty Little Liars Episode 610 Recap: I Feel A Lot Safer When I’m In Charge Of What Happens to Me
We finally learn who A is.

+ “Faking It” Returns August 31st: 10 Things To Expect From Season 2B
Everybody is still lying, just about different stuff. (Also: SPOILER ALERT)

+ Orange is The New Black Episode 310 Recap: There Is A Monster At The End Of This Book
In which things start falling apart.

I know I promised to fold Carmilla into this column, and I will start that next week!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I thought Khloe divorced Lamar due to his cocaine & various other addictions? Like I wouldn’t be surprised if Cait talked shit about Lamar, because half of L.A. has at some point. Not to mention he’s an out of work ball player, with an addiction, who even in his best years was a bit inconsistent. So, I think Cait insulting him is the least of her problem.

  2. I originally wrote this concerning another site but it applies here. At some point, Autostraddle has to stop forfeiting it’s important and valuable position as a site that critiques the representation of queer woman. While biphobia is an important issue, that does not mean that every situation in which a woman is with a man on television should not be criticized. Chasing Life has depicted 4 lesbians this season. There was a clingy, annoying stalker of Brenna. There was an older woman who entered an inappropriate romance with Brenna. There was that older woman’s roommate who staked Brenna to her house. There was a fellow student who mocks Brenna. Simply put, there have been 4 representations of lesbians this season and all have been negative.

    The show depicted Brenna kissing another woman to excite Finn and then enjoying Finn bragging about it to his friends. The show showed all the individuals at the meeting in a negative manner except Brenna. While some of those things have been said, the one sided nature of the meeting last night was a pile on designed to show other LGBT individuals in a harsh light. Who was empathetic and caring? Why of course the good looking straight man who the show has positioned Brenna to be with.

    Considering the plethora of romances on television between men and women on television and the lack of visibility for romances between women on television, it also is perplexing that AfterEllen has demonstrated no comprehension of why viewers may be disappointed that Brenna is now falling in love with a man. There has been no questioning of why the program got rid of Greer or why a program filled with straight couples feels the need to have another one. We know Brenna is bisexual. That should not be an automatic defense against criticism for indulging in romances pandering to preteen girls, for repeated negative depictions of lesbians, for depicting the straight male as a hero battling lesbians and gay men to defend the heroine, and for sequences such as Brenna kissing Ford for Finn’s amusement.

    I would like to add that women being attracted to women and men is hardly lacking visibility. As others have commented on at other sites, the big thing is that shows are now labeling women who are attracted to both men and women as bisexual or the often misused term fluid (if you want revolutionary tell me about when a man’s sexuality is labeled as fluid on a tv show). The overwhelming percentage of women on tv nowadays that have romances with women are either 6 feet under early into the show’s or have been/will be in romances with men. That, excluding Netflix shows, primary female characters who date women, are almost always shown being attracted to men too is worthy of comment.

    Heather, I am also tired of this whoa is me victimization when ever these tired plotlines are criticized. I remember you defending the MTV version of Skins as if that show was doing something original. Now you are pulling the same nonsense here. Women who are attracted to women and men is not the exception on television. It is the rule.

    So lets stop acting as if shows like Chasing Life are doing something special and start asking real questions? Why are shows, with a few exceptions, hesitant to have their main female characters who like women only like women? Why did Chasing Life get rid of one of the few nuanced same sex romances on television for a lazy Fault in Our Stars redux? Why has the show depicted lesbians this year in such a horrid manner? Why has the show decided that Brenna kissing Ford for Finn’s amusement. As with Pretty Little Liars last week and shows like MTV’s version of Skins, why do you keep rationalizing these inept storylines.

    • Ah, Hodge C, my old friend, hello!

      You and I have had many conversations about bisexual and sexually fluid representation on TV in the past, and I don’t think this one will be any different. I don’t have any problems with any of the lesbians who have been depicted on Chasing Life this season. They’ve all been tertiary characters and none of their dubious actions have been glorified as a heroic or even moral. I can’t see any negative cultural impact coming from them at all. Lesbian characters don’t have to be good guys who always make good decisions and do everything right. We’ve grown past that.

      Mariah, the lesbian character who was introduced last night, I thought her contribution to the conversation was really important, because lesbians and gay men say that kind of horrible stuff to bisexual women ALL THE TIME. We’ve seen in Chasing Life’s universe that not every lesbian reacts that way to bisexual women. To see those things addressed in such a frank way felt really good to me. It’s very rare to see that on TV. I think Chasing Life *is* doing something special.

      Why are shows, with a few exceptions, hesitant to have their main female characters who like women only like women?

      This just isn’t true. 2015 has been a revolutionary year for lesbians on TV. Off the top of my head, here are the active female TV characters who only like women:

      + Emily Fields (PLL)
      + Margot Verner (Hannibal)
      + Stef Adams Foster (The Fosters)
      + Lena Adams Foster (The Fosters)
      + Madame Vastra (Doctor Who)
      + Jenny (Doctor Who)
      + Suzanne Warren (OITNB)
      + Poussey Washington (OITNB)
      + Big Boo (OITNB)
      + Nicky Nichols (OITNB)
      + Alex Vause (OITNB)
      + Doc Yewll (Defiance)
      + M-Chcuk (Survivor’s Remorse)
      + Lauren Lewis (Lost Girl)
      + Alisha Granderson (The Last Ship)
      + Gail Peck (Rookie Blue)
      + Arizona Robbins (Grey’s Anatomy)
      + Lena (Ray Donovan)
      + Betty (Masters of Sex)
      + Emily Fields (PLL)
      + Cosima (Orphan Black)
      + Shay (Orphan Black)
      + Luisa (Jane the Virgin)
      + Gretchen (Complications)
      + Abby (Mahnattan)
      + Noomi (Sense8)
      + Amanita (Sense8)
      + Maggie (Younger)

      There are more, but that’s just what’s springing to mind right now. As for characters who actually apply the label “bisexual” to themselves, I can only think of Piper Chapman, Callie Torres, Bo Dennis, and Brenna.

      • There is a big difference between some lesbian characters on a tv season being depicted in a negative manner and depicting all of them this season, in this case 4, in a negative manner. It is fascinating you are quick to question everything except negative representations of lesbians. I would not expect less of someone who defended MTV’s version of Skins and did not refute the show runner who said all lesbians think of sleeping with men.

        Apparently you missed the part where I said primary and congratulated Netflix “That, excluding Netflix shows, primary female characters who date women, are almost always shown being attracted to men too is worthy of comment.”

        So once we toss out a quarter of the shows (Netflix) and the recurring characters, we have very few. Interestingly most have made out with or had sex with men including Emily Fields, Gail Peck, and Abby Isaacs.

        This is what is so intriguing. You keep acting like women who like women and men is so rarely depicted. Yet it is depicted nonstop and has been for decades.

        Let’s just start with some of your favorite shows and how they handle women who are attracted to men.

        Skins (England) – Naomi, Emily, Mini, Frankie – all slept with men and the last two rejected their former attraction to women.
        Skins (MTV) – Tea – out lesbian who is addicted to a man.
        Hell On Wheels – apparent lesbian until she sleeps with a man.
        Faking It – a show that has a person constantly wondering if she is a lesbian while drooling over men. Rumor is she falls hard for a boy this upcoming season. I know you will love that.
        Chasing Life – a veritable sausage party already, now the one woman who was not dating a man will be dating one. Her and her soon to be boyfriend have stood up to lesbians and gay men.

        P.S. You can talk about identification all you want in terms of tv representation. It is still women attracted to women needing a man sooner or later. Bryan Elsley would be proud of you defending these storylines and not, in any way, defending shows, such as Chasing Life, which can manage to have every single lesbian character in a season be depicted in a negative manner.

        • Just for the record, I’m the “Faking It” recapper and I have been highly critical of the show’s decision to have Amy be “unsure” about her orientation instead of having her be a lesbian (as we were initially told she’d be, and as I’d hoped she’d be). Heather never recapped the show for us or for AfterEllen, nor has she ever said it was one of her favorite shows. I’m mentioning this because it feels like you’re just saying things that aren’t true in order to make your case and that’s not fair.

          You seem to only come to this site to make huge and unfair accusations towards us, usually based on one piece of real evidence and a bunch of things you exaggerate or invent. We’ve been writing this site long enough that it wouldn’t be hard for you to make a case against any of us by gathering a few posts out of hundreds written, taking select bits completely out of context, and declaring them emblematic of the whole, while disregarding the hundreds of other posts that oppose your point. Or you do genuinely disagree with one of our writers but you skew and mischaracterize their intent when doing so.

          What’s your endgame here? Recently there was a post in which I actually agreed that I’d fucked up and apologized for it — although there were more commenters backing up the initial choice I’d made (many of whom I also consider friends) than there were commenters criticizing it — but you still kept going after me, which suggests that you’re not as interested in prompting change / evolution as you are in using us as a punching bag.

          Sorry, but no, that’s not how we roll here. There are perfectly civil ways to talk about lesbian erasure on television but this isn’t one of them.

          ETA: It has also come to my attention that you are not a lesbian, bisexual or queer woman yourself and therefore I am really confused why you think it’s okay to come here and tell us how we should be represented.

      • Should have excluded Hell on Wheels. That horrible storyline was defended by someone else. So used to you defending tv having lesbians always sleeping with or making out with men, that it seemed in keeping with your this is so wonderful and understandable she desires a man agenda.

        Don’t worry. Soon any hint of women who only like women will be eradicated from tv. Got a feeling you will still be talking about a lack of representation.

        • With all due respect, it seems like you are the one with the agenda, not Heather. You seem to want all queer women on television to be represented in one way and one way only – never having had any relationship or interest in a man at any point in her life, ever.

          I admit that I cannot think right in this moment of a character who fits that particular description (mainly because we are rarely given a character’s ENTIRE romantic history because why would we be?), so it would be wonderful for many people to see an example of that character. It would be wonderful for people to see several examples of that character. However you really seem to be saying that ALL lesbians need to be portrayed that way. That’s pretty unrealistic. There are a large variety of experiences amongst queer women when it comes to dating and discovering their sexuality, and it’s great that we are seeing such a variety of representation. We are so far from where we were just five years ago.

          Critiquing ALL lesbian characters on television right now, saying that it is the “norm” for them be actually bisexual rather than (your definition of) lesbian is pretty insulting to all of the queer women who have relished these stories and found their representation within them. And calling out Heather, who never does anything but help people be their best selves, is not a productive use of your time.

          Go write the story that you want to see. No writer is ever going to be able to pull in all of the representation that our society is starved to see. So we need more creators. Be a creator! Add your story to the collective. I’m sure you will be able to touch people’s lives with what you have to say because you seem to have a unique perspective. Put something positive in this world, instead of following around television recappers and blaming them for things that are so far from being their fault.

          When you write that story, I want to read it.

      • Thank you for laying this out, Heather!

        I only wanted to add that to the best of my tv memory, Piper Chapman has never on camera referred to herself as bisexual. Making that list even fewer and the work that is currently happening on “Chasing Life” eve more important.

        (You listed Emily Fields twice- it’s ok, I know you just love her so much that she sprang to your head multiple times).

        • C.P., that is quite some D-grade logic there. So basically it doesn’t matter that almost all women on tv who are shown being attracted to women are shown also being attracted to a man at some point. Just as long as they don’t label themselves bisexual, than television does not depict almost all women on tv who are attracted to women as also being shown as being attracted to men at some point.

          The television show can have the character label themselves in any way. If a male character is labeled a pansexual but is never shown with any interest in anyone but women on the show it doesn’t mean the show is demonstrating pansexual representation. The same holds in reverse. You can please labels all day but it doesn’t change the overwhelming amount of women on television who are attracted to women end up being attracted to men too. So to act like it is something amazing to have a bisexual female character on tv takes a level of obtuseness and gullibility that is mystifying.

          Keep watching the many woman loves man romances on Chasing Life and scenes trashing lesbians. It seems just your type of show.

          • Well, Hodge C., my point (and I do believe, to a certain extent, Heather’s original point) was about how prevalent bi-erasure is on television. As in, characters who have been documented to not only have have romantic or sexual interest in both sexes, but who are also openly labeled as “bisexual” in a time where, quite honestly, bisexuals get a pretty bad wrap from both straights and lesbians/gays alike. Which isn’t to say that a person has to have a specific label to their sexuality at all- or that a label such as queer or pansexual or anything of the like isn’t valid, just that a character being openly labeled as “bi” is still a rarity and that contributed to a particular kind of erasure.

            So in that light, yes I think that it’s important to note what tiny handful (as in 3 or max 4) characters are on that list.

            Which is not to say that a particular type of erasure isn’t also happening against what you have been calling women who exclusively like other women on television, or bisexuals. I think that though lesbian representation has been on an upswing of late (in both actual numbers and in diversity of personality types), it’s still something that we should pay attention to.

            Bi-erasure on tv is real. Lesbian erasure on tv is also real. I believe that we can address both without putting one against another. They each have their own specific set of concerns.

            That said, I’m not going to engage with you anymore Hodges c. I’m sure that your feelings are coming from a place you feel is valid, but I don’t respond well to bullies on the internet referring to my logic as “D grade”. Especially on Autostraddle, which works so hard to be a safe space for it’s readers.

          • Also, to your last point, “Keep watching the many woman loves man romances on Chasing Life and scenes trashing lesbians. It seems just your type of show.”

            —- I’ve actually never seen “Chasing Life”. The only ABC Family shows I watch are PLL and The Fosters, both of which have lesbian characters who exclusively have relationships with other women. And i hated everything about the Cosin Nate storyline on PLL largely because it felt out of character for Emily. So, there’s that.

    • Just a quick note that there is a difference between characters who dated men before coming out, and characters who identify as bi, pan, queer, or fluid. Emily Fields may have been dating that tool from her high school, but she definitely wasn’t into him. Heck, even Cameron Esposito dated the quarterback of her high school football team before coming out when she was twenty.

      Your comments seem to say that women who have had sex with men at some point in their lives can’t be “real” lesbians, and that’s a characterization that I think a lot of women who identify as lesbian would take issue with.

      • The only exception up there in my retort would be Gail Peck.

        …Emily Fields was already out long before she made out with Nate. Though it is understandable you tried to clear that subplot from your memory.
        …Emily Fitch had expressed love for Naomi and came out to JJ before sleeping with JJ by the end of the same episode.
        …Tea Marvelli was an out lesbian when the show began and became obsessed with a boy – leading to Heather Hogan’s infamous interview with Bryan Elsley in which he talked about all lesbians thinking of sleeping with men.

        All out and all making out with and making love to men after they were out after identifying as a lesbian. And all were defended by Heather Hogan.

        • i just wanna say that sleeping with guys before coming out is a completely normal part of a young lesbian’s history….most of those characters you have named are going through/have gone through a journey about figuring themselves out. there’s a difference between a character explicitly stating “i’m gay/lesbian” and THEN continuously sleeping with men or “going back” to men versus characters who *think* they like girls/women but aren’t sure yet and are still hormonal teenagers. in faking it, amy never says that she is for sure a lesbian….and if the writers told people that she was going to be a lesbian, maybe wait for the show to play out (it’s signed on for at least 1.5 more seasons) and see her finally come to terms with being gay. and i’m sure i’ll be chewed out for this next comment because glee obviously was NOT good with lesbian visibility until later seasons (and even then it was sort of half ass) … but santana NEVER went back to guys once she came out, but she slept with a ton of them before hand. the list of these types of examples can go on and on. we all know that previously “lesbian” storylines were used explicitly for ratings, and it’s 100% fair to demand better visibility, and obviously there are still shows that use it as a trope directed mostly towards a male audience… but as a person who identifies as a lesbian and can relate to hooking up with men before and after coming out for various reasons (i don’t identify as a bisexual person because i am not attracted to men as a whole and would not date one–all my intimate encounters with guys were based off of who they were, not the fact that i just needed a man because women weren’t enough–and if you want to argue with me about this, please refer to my gender studies degree from USC) you shouldn’t just attack everything you see on screen as complete bullshit when some viewers can completely identify with a story line. it’s strange how you feel the need to box these characters in as if lesbians aren’t ‘allowed’ to make a choice to be intimate with a man or someone who does not identify as a woman, ESPECIALLY teenagers who are trying to navigate life and hormones in such a heteronormative society. i don’t agree with everything that the writers say on afterellen or on this website when recapping, but i think that they do a fantastic job of bringing visibility to queer women in general and how we all have different experiences and there is often more than meets the eye about a storyline.

    • are you one of ’em 100 year old uber dyke living under a monstrous rock? hates bisexuals & only wants to represent goldstar lesbians. its that or you just miss heather. AE sucks! its owned by men!

  3. I don’t watch Chasing Life but oh my god the job they’re doing with the bisexual representation seems amazing. It’s like what I’ve dreamed in my wildest dreams for every bisexual character ever created. Is this real life?

    Can’t wait for all the Carmilla stuff.

    Also, I’ve just read this interview with the Good Wife creators, in which they talk about the Alicia-Kalinda/Margulies-Panjabi controversy, or better, in which they say they are talking about it but they aren’t saying anything at all (“in my opinion” obviously). WHATEVER. I don’t need to know what happened and I’m clearly not thinking about what could have been, nope, I’m fine, everything is fine.

    • Every time I am out for drinks with my friends, by the end of the night this ALWAYS comes up. Just like out of nowhere someone will be like, “What the fuck EVEN happened with those two!” And then the conspiracy theories, all of which I love very much. That green screen ending scene was just one of the worst things I have EVER seen on TV!

      • Yes, it really was the worst. I want to forget all about this and start enjoying one of my favourite tv shows again because I think it’s so good, but this.. ugh.

  4. I must admit I kind of gave up on Defiance and Complications for the time being and am now in queer, happy nerd love with Arrow.
    (Late, I know, but first there was The 100, then Person of Interest, with a little OB and OITNB thrown in..)
    I’m in the middle of season 2 right now and my brain short circuited just today with Sarah doing the Salmon Ladder and (surprisingly smoking hot) Nyssa making her (surprisingly smoking hot) appearance.
    And all of that leather..
    Anyways, what I was trying to say, is that I have been watching a teenage sci fi show, a CBS crime/science fiction procedural and am now engaging in a classic nerdy superhero thing and I get to see women kick ass in a major way and smooch on other Ladies in meaningful ones.
    I’m just a happy nerdy Lesbionic life form atm,so thank you, TV, and even if the fall seasons should prove to be disappointing, we’ll always have Paris.
    I mean Ton DC, New York and Starling City and wherever Sarah Manning and the Seestras are hanging out these days.

  5. Soooo happy Stef and Lena are okay. What a relief.
    They cannot take my Jonnor away
    I’m still queasy about Brallie
    Had totally forgotten that Jesus even existed. I would have been fine if he never came back from testosterone academy

    • When they walked in at the end all “Who’s this guy?”, we all responded with

      Jesus has been replacing by a foundling, and no one’s even noticed.

        • yes!! to me it felt such an unsettling and weird addition to this scene that was supposed to be saying “everything’s fine and as it should be.”

          …like maybe it’s actually the introduction of a new storyline in which a jesus imposter comes back from wrestling school and no one can tell, except maybe like, connor, and the reason connor goes to LA is because he’s the only one who knows the truth and needs to be away from the family so that he won’t mess up whatever evil plot new jesus has.

        • I don’t know, I kind of feel like the jury’s still out on whether this kid can act. He had about 20 seconds of screentime and while I wouldn’t say I was impressed, even in that tiny amount of time I found him notably better than Jake T Austin. Which isn’t hard, but still…. I’m open. I like Mariana having her twin, and it opens up at least one more storyline that isn’t Callie/Brandon.

          • As long as they don’t take time away from the moms. I am here for the Moms and the theme song.

    • I actually didn’t know the old Jesus was leaving so when I saw this dude my thought process as follows:

      1) A new character? New foster kid? Long-lost family member? New boyfriend? Why does he look so different?

      2) Oh it’s JESUS? Did his face get bashed in? Major surgery? Too much testosterone? He’s on steroids?

      3) Oh. New actor.

      • AS, you need an edit button. The ‘why you look so diff’ comment obvi fits with thought #2. Or not. Who even knows with my brain.

  6. Of course Callie gets adopted after fucking Brandon. That’s not going to come back and bite anybody in the ass. Lol.

    Gail didn’t just help bust a dirty cop. One of those cops was her own brother. Which sucks because I actually liked Steve with Tracy. The writers are breaking my heart over here.

    You know, I’m never entirely sure what’s real and what’s fake when it comes to the Kardashians. I’m not sure if I buy all this Kumbayah “We support you Caitlyn” face they are presenting to the media. I don’t know how much is genuine support or support in front of the cameras because it does them no favors with the public to be unsupportive. Those girls first priorities has always seemed to be their own level of fame and what they are saying in the shows doesn’t jive with what they are saying to the media. And Khloe whining about Lamar is getting so old. Honey, you haven’t been with him in a long ass time and you have had at least two boyfriends since then. Get over it.

    • I couldn’t even write about that Callie and Brandon thing because just seeing it on TV made me want to stab myself in the eyeballs with forks.

    • I really have to agree with you about the Khardasians. I think that this episode went some strides into showing the cracks in the veneer that the family presents to the public. The kids (except Kim and Klyie- is that her name? the young one?) haven’t been out to visit Caitlyn. Caitlyn has definitely become cut off from her family and when she expressed that this week, neither Khloe or Kim could deny it. That is the worst nightmare for so many folks when they come out- and despite all the other wealth and privilege that surrounds her, Caitlyn is definitely living it.

      I also agree with Heather that this was my first time being exposed to the Khardasians in full and it almost sent me running for the remote. I don’t know if I’ll can keep watching if they stick with spending a lot of time on them.

      • Holy… Yup, yup, 100%. I couldn’t figure out why they would have them have sex and then just drop it forever. But YUP

        how is this show just the best and the worstT?

      • But didn’t the show already do two teen pregnancy scares? Once wit Jesus’ season one girlfriend (can’t remember her name?? Or maybe that was just “the morning after pill” scare?) and then they just did it with Mariana this summer?


        2. That just seems like lazy writing.

        3. The larger subtle political implications that every time a teen has sex on the show, it has to be associated with fear and danger, makes me feel icky :(

        • A similar thing happened recently on Switched at Birth where Bay went to get the morning after pill and her parents found out (she’s 18 and has graduated from HS) and her dad yelled at the guy he thought “put her in that position” and then when she told her dad it was a different guy he went “oh, guess I yelled at the wrong guy” and I’m like no, actually, it’s not her dad’s job to police her sex life IN ANY CAPACITY, and Bay and the guy she slept with kind of both put themselves “in that position.”

          • Like hello ABC Family, sometimes teenagers have sex and it’s just all fine and dandy. And fun and awesome.

  7. I hope Carmilla will be talked about more on Autostraddle. It’s so good! The last episode wrecked me.

    • It’s so so good this year. I’m sorry I haven’t written about it yet. With PLL on hiatus, that should free up a whole lot of time for me.

    • Hollence! Hollence and Granny Smith apples forever! I came here to comment on that episode, and I’m glad that someone beat me to it.

  8. Last night, when Stef and Lena pressed their faces together and smiled as the camera zoomed out on the kitchen window and we watched their children dance around, I maybe cried a little being filled with hope about my own dreams about my future family? I did.

    There is something about The Fosters, I am just shy of being at an age where I have the necessary means to confidently build a family- but the thing is, I didn’t even *know* what the family could look like. The Fosters gives me that gift weekly. When I watch it, I become overwhelmed with hope and the tiniest little light of belief that I *can* have this, that I *can* have a wife and unicorn loving, brave children and a kitchen worth envy (lol). That its a real possibility and not something I just concocted in my head.

    Is that what straight girls feel like when they watch tv? Is that what representation means?

    Which is why this season has been SO HARD for me. Putting Stef and Lena through the ringer, even if it is realistic, just felt like watching a nightmare play out. I felt such a relief that it is (momentarily) over. Hence, the tears.

    • I feel the same way! Watching the show gives me hope for myself and my future. Sometimes I’m blown away that this show is on the air and one part of the main couple is a black and white lesbian! I never thought I would see someone who looks like me on a show like this, it’s amazing!

  9. Heather, I was watching that scene on Chasing Life last night and wishing I was your friend so we could have a moment about it. SO IMPORTANT

  10. So I’ve never watched Chasing Life before but now I really REALLY want to. A bisexual character who actually identifies as bi shutting down biphobes? Sign me up!

  11. I am days late to this post but just wanted to note, this week was NOT the Chasing Life finale – we’ve still got a few weeks left!

  12. Oh nooooo. Chasing Life was cancelled by ABCFamily after 2 seasons under some sort of revamping of the network. This really hurts. Now we have to say goodbye to terrific multi-dimensional characters, a fair representation of a bisexual secondary character, Brenna, and good acting, writing and directing. Not to mention an interesting exposition of a young woman finding herself professionally and personally while battling cancer, a fast growing health challenge in our society. It is rare to see a TV series feature a young woman’s life as comprising more than finding a boyfriend. Sob sob sob.

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